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A Busy Day


Monday, April 21, 1913

Capt. Torrey Near Drowned
Ill and 70, He Clung Long to Overturned Boat in Harbor
Rescued by George Whiting Who Saw Accident From Wharf
Heavy Blow Nearly Wrecked Sch. Smith Tuttle and Sloop Whip
Capt. King and Life Saving Crew Saved Both Crafts

The heavy gale from the northwest which about 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon commenced to assume some definite proportions and continued in its fury most of yesterday beside nearly costing the life of a captain in the harbor kept the Dolliver’s Neck lifesaving crew busy for several hours, during which they performed valuable service in rescuing the sloop Whip which threatened to drag ashore at Hawthorne Inn and later the coasting sch. Smith Tuttle which fared badly in the heavy blow. Both crafts were towed into the inner harbor for safety by the station’s power boat and escaped more serious results if not destruction from the gale.

Capt. George A. Torrey 70 years old, master of the three-masted sch. John S. Beachman of Virginia had about as close a call for his life as he ever wants to experience again. Saturday afternoon when he was upset in a yawl in the outer harbor by a heavy squall which struck the little boat.

Capt. Torrey came in here for harbor Friday evening while bound from Sullivan, Me., to New York with paving. He was suffering with a severe cold and had been ashore for medicine Saturday afternoon, after which he started to return on board again. The small yawl boat in which he sailed carried a light sail and was coming along pretty well, when near the spindle a sudden flaw caught the sail and threw her down on her port side and hove the captain into the water.

As Capt. Torrey went over several pieces of paving used as ballast shifted and with the canvas in the water, the captain was unable to right her again. There was nothing left for him to do but cling on to the starboard gunwale, with his body submerged to his neck. For nearly a half hour he hung on and he surely would have drowned had it not been for the timely presence of George Whiting, an employee of the American Halibut Company at their Boston branch, who from the wharf, seeing Capt. Torrey’s predicament put out in a dory and rescued him.

The captain was pretty well used up and was rowed ashore and hustled to the police station where his wet clothing was removed and he was wrapped in warm blankets. In the meanwhile Capt. Nelson A. King was notified and brought some warm clothes from the Dolliver’s Neck life saving station.

After Capt. Torrey had recovered from his icy bath he was taken on board his craft by Capt. King. Yesterday the coaster proceeded on her journey, Capt. Torrey evidently having suffered no ill effects from his exciting experience.

The Whip owned by the Beverly Lightening Company came here Saturday to clean up the rocks at Ten Pound Island ledge, where the government has been at work recently and in the afternoon started outside with a breeze from southwest. Suddenly the wind hauled around to the northwest in a heavy squall and it commenced to blow so violently that the Whip was unable to make any headway but was nosed about and carried towards the East Gloucester shore.

George W. Bailey of Ten Pound Island light was returning from Eastern Point light in a small power boat and noticed the predicament of the Whip. He immediately set his course to the rescue and arrived alongside of the sloop rapidly drifting with a small kedge dragging astern. Keeper Bailey tried to take the sloop in tow although the little three-horse-power engine made a heroic effort to pull the craft along, it was without success and Mr. Bailey decided to hasten ashore and summon assistance.

With all possible speed he arrived on the island and Capt. Nelson A. King and his craft were soon on their way from Fresh Water Cove to the aid of the drifting craft. Mr. Bailey returned to the scene and with the life-saving crew went alongside of the Whip again. Assistance came none too soon however, for the sloop was not more than 100 yards from the rocks at Hawthorne Inn, when a line was got to her bow, and life-saving power boat commenced to pull her away from the shore to a place of safety.

Several of the crew aboard at the time were prepared for the emergency. One of them had his suite case packed, ready to jump ashore as soon as the craft struck.

Capt. King towed the craft into the inner harbor where she was safely moored at the pier of the Gloucester Gas Light Company.

The two-masted coasting sch. Smith Tuttle had a bad time of it Saturday afternoon and evening and after several hours of being buffeted about on the seas during which the craft commenced to leak and was badly damaged, the Dolliver’s Neck life-saving crew brought her into the harbor about 3 o’clock yesterday morning. The Tuttle has recently been sold to Capt. Alfred Cosgrove of Calais, Me., who with one lone man for his crew left Boston Saturday morning for the vessel’s new home port.

During the early part of the afternoon, the craft ran into the heaviest of the squall but continued along as far as Thatcher’s Island, when it blew so hard that the coaster commenced to leak. Heavy seas swept her decks and during the blow the jib was carried away, her bobstay parted, her foreboom and gaff were smashed besides stem started and other damage forward. In vain the craft tried to make harbor here but was unsuccessful and finally anchored under the lee of the Sherman cottage at Bass Rocks where she set signals of distress.

Three of the crew of the Rockport life-saving station came up and boarded her but were unable to do anything. They suggested that a revenue cutter be summoned. The craft fortunately hung to her anchor all the time and early in the evening a message was sent to the Dolliver’s Neck station that the craft was still there and Capt. King and crew started out in the big power boat arriving alongside in due time.

They boarded the craft, and after putting out another anchor remained by until after midnight when the breeze moderated, and then started to tow the coaster to harbor. It was a long and tedious journey in view of the fact that power boat is not equipped for towing purposes. Some of the crew remained on board the vessel and took charge of what was left of the sails and with the aid of the power boat, she worked along very well. About 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon Capt. King and his tow arrived in the inner harbor and anchored in the "Deep Hole".

It will be several days before the Tuttle will be able to proceed as it will be necessary to make extensive repairs on account of the serous damage she received.


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